Atholton controls River Hill

No. 13 Atholton 70 River Hill 62

Howard boys championship

February 21, 2007|By Glenn Graham | Glenn Graham,SUN REPORTER

Atholton's 34-point first-half in last night's Howard County boys basketball championship was a clear indicator: The No. 13 Raiders were playing on their terms this time against River Hill.

With the hot-shooting first half backed up by the necessary responses in the second, the host Raiders earned the program's seventh county crown with a 70-62 win over the Hawks.

Seniors Torey Fassett, Steve Lombardozzi and Sam Permutt combined to score 44 points, with junior Brett McQuilkin adding nine as the Raiders (20-3) avenged a 38-35 loss to the Hawks (18-5) during the regular season.

"The last time we played their game -- we made that mistake. This time, we played our game," Lombardozzi said. "We like to keep a fast pace and get up and down the court. We have so many weapons on this team and everyone stepped up for us."

Using a 14-2 run to take a 26-14 lead midway through the second quarter, the Raiders protected their lead with timely points whenever the Hawks tried to make a run.

After River Hill senior Tommy Brenton (24 points) cut the lead to 34-30 early in the third quarter with a driving layup, Fassett hit consecutive baskets to help the Raiders regain a double-digit lead.

With 3:58 to play in the fourth quarter, Brenton converted a three-point play to get the Hawks within 52-46, but McQuilkin got a steal at one end and then scored at the other for a pivotal four-point swing.

"They were just ready for us -- it was like they knew exactly what we wanted to do," Brenton said. "They got off to a good start and then we couldn't close the gap. They have some great players and they all contributed. This was for the county, so now we're going to focus on the region. We have the No. 2 seed and we'll be ready."

The only negative for the Raiders took place in the game's final seconds, when Permutt had to leave with a sprained ankle.

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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